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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: Numenera

by Ken Newquist / October 27, 2013
Game Day: Numenera
The waterfalls of Numenera, taken from concept art for Torment: Tides of Numenera.

It's finally here. Months after getting our Numenera books we're finally running our one shot (or maybe double shot) adventure. I think it's safe to say that -- scheduling snags aside -- we're all very excited to play the game.

Our characters include:

  • The Scorn of Dread Nazaar (my character): A Stealthy Nano Who Exists Partially out of Phase
  • Electric Jack (temporary name): A Mystical/Mechanical Jack who Rides the Lightning.
  • Tombraider (temporary name): A Clever Jack who Explores Dark Places.
  • Old Blue: A Strong Glaive Who Fuses Flesh & Steel.
  • Talos: An Intelligent Nano That Employ's Magnetism.
  • Qaytar: A Strong Willed Glaive Who Controls Gravity.
  • Deegan: A Stealthy Jack Who Commands Mental Powers.

What I love about this list is that even without character backgrounds, Numenera's trait system has told me something about who's playing in the game. The backgrounds make things even better.

Qaytar's a Hawkman inspired hero who has ventured onto the "Wandering Walk" (a pilgramage of sorts that talks participants throughout much of the Ninth Worl) looking for a female who shares his unique metal wings. Old Blue is a biomechanical pilgrim with blue skin and a memory that begins nine years ago. My own character, Scorn, is a former apprentice of Dread Nazaar, a nano of terrible power who cast him out for stealing secrets.

Everyone's got a background (if not a name) and I think this is one of Numenera's strengths: character creation practically demands you write a backstory. It's not enough to be the Fighter Who Kills Goblins; when you roll up a character in Numenera you can't help but wonder how he, she or it got that way.

Techncially, this isn't our first Numenera session. We did a rudimentary test of the game back in August when we rolled up characters and tried out combat. That said, we didn't touch cyphers, and it was a very simple "you meet on the road and explore an abandoned vault" scenario.

Tonight we're going to be playing one of the scenarios from the Numenera source book, and I'm happy to say I don't know which one. After two years of gamemastering Pathfinder, I'm taking a break, and Jon will be taking over game mastering duties.

I'm looking forward to sitting back, unfolding the Scorn's tri-fold character sheet, and rolling lots and lots of dice while Jon orchestrates the adventure.

It's going to be a fun night.


I've been rather excited to make some time with folks to run Numenera, although than hasn't panned out yet. How was your experience?

It was good. I have some thoughts on the game that I've been trying to assemble into a post but life keeps getting in the way.

I think our biggest challenges are adjusting our mindset. You get two, maybe three skills in the game and our d20 brains keep think "well, that's all I can do." Truth is that you can do *anything*, it's just that your skills are what you are particularly good at.

As you'd expect there was a fair amount of page flipping as we looked up rules and such, but the adventure went well. We're looking forward to the second adventure now that we've got a pretty good handle on the rules.